The Splendor of Marriage: St. John Paul II's Vision of Love, Marriage, Family, and the Culture of Life (Spinello)

Angelico Press

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The Splendor of Marriage is essential reading for anyone interested in the thought of Pope John Paul II or the theology of marriage and family. It concisely lays out the pope’s major doctrines by drawing from key papal and pre-papal sources such as Love and Responsibility, Theology of the Body, Mulieris Dignitatem, and Familiaris Consortio. Close attention is paid to the pope’s distinctive contributions: his profound analysis of the unique character of spousal love; his personalistic approach to the issue of sexual morality, which highlights the “value of the person”; his treatment of marriage as the “primordial” sacrament and “prototype” of all the sacraments; and his novel emphasis on the family’s sovereign power and on “family rights,” which adds new depth and richness to the Church’s social magisterium. The personalistic vision of marriage and family set forth so elegantly in John Paul II’s writings has the power to edify and educate a society still caught up in the throes of the devastating sexual revolution.

“St. John Paul II is recognized today primarily for the pivotal role he played in the fall of the Soviet empire. But the ‘Pope of the Family’ was the leader in another international conflict, and for even higher stakes: the battle to defend the dignity of marital love. Since his death, the enemies of the family have advanced on many fronts. In this book—learned in content, engaging in style—Richard Spinello shows how well John Paul II understood this crisis and how his thought can provide a defensive bulwark for the family, and thus for human life.”—PHILIP E. LAWLER, Director, Catholic Culture; Editor, Catholic World News

The Splendor of Marriage provides an easy-to-read introduction to St. John Paul II’s theology of marriage and family in the context of contemporary debates about love, sex, marriage, and family life. Richard Spinello shows how our assumptions about love and marriage are not just a series of political arguments but pertain to the philosophical and theological foundations of what it means to be a person. He shows how John Paul II’s thought stands out as a ‘sign of contradiction’ in our own age. This is a challenging read for anyone interested in the renewal of Catholic life.”—TIMOTHY P. O’MALLEY, University of Notre Dame

“This is a beautifully written and compelling book on a topic that affects everyone. In synthesizing St. John Paul II’s papal and pre-papal writings, Richard Spinello provides a comprehensive and lucid account of the pope’s views on marriage, family, and sexual morality. Any future discussion of John Paul II’s inspiring teachings in these areas will be shaped by this splendid work.”—RICK FITZGIBBONS, Director, Institute for Marital Healing

“In The Splendor of Marriage, Richard Spinello provides a much needed creative retrieval of the philosophical and theological thought of John Paul II. His teachings on Christian anthropology, sexual and conjugal morality, marriage and family life, and the prerequisite undergirding culture of life are presented in light of the foundational truths of creation, fall, and redemption in Jesus Christ—essentially, an integral Christian hermeneutics. The author shows with great conceptual clarity, depth, and insight that this retrieval—not retrenchment!—of John Paul II’s hermeneutics is sorely needed for revitalizing the Church today in moving faithfully forward in her evangelical and Catholic engagement with, and transformation of, culture in the aftermath of the sexual revolution.”—EDUARDO J. ECHEVERRIA, Sacred Heart Major Seminary


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